Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Father Emil Kapaun-Korean War Hero

Happy Memorial Day! Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine R. et lux perpetua luceat eis: Requiescant in pace. R. Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reason # 316 to Be Catholic: Below the Bible Belt Theology

One of the fruits of the reformation was to remove every believer out from under the authority of the Catholic Church. Given the availability of the printing press (invented in 1448) and vernacular translations (widely available in Germany before the reformation), a Christian could now gain from God, with guidance from the Holy Spirit, how to believe and practice his or her faith. It was not up to the Catholic Church to tell the laity what the scriptures meant.  Here are a few snippets from Martin Luther:

"[It] is an accursed lie that the pope is the arbiter of Scripture or that the church has authority over Scripture."

"a simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it". 

 The downside, of course, is that even within Luther's lifetime, there came to be many individual interpretations of the scriptures and multiple new denominations developing as a result of these differing individual  interpretations.  There were over two hundred intepretations of the what the Lord's Supper was within one hundred years of the reformation.

   As the secular culture now fully embraces same-sex marriage, there is a movement among the new crop of evangelicals to re-examine scripture and use personal interpretation to justify this "new morality." I suspect we will see more books like this one: "God and the Gay Christian."   Matthew Vines, "a simple layman" states in this new release that “Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.” He also writes that “I believe all of Scripture is inspired by God and authoritative for my life."

    From using his own interpretation of scripture, Matthew Vine can declare what was once a sin, to be a sacrament. That is what I call "Below the Bible Belt Theology" and is reason #316 to be Catholic. Despite the many bad popes, bishops, priests, sleezy Catholic politicians, liberal Catholic theologians, nominal Catholics, etc., the teachings on issues of faith and morality taught by the Church will never change to fit the culture. The Church cannot and will not change morality based on an individual theologian's interpretations of the bible nor the ever-shifting winds of modern culture. For all you folks who want to remain faithful to biblical teaching on faith and morals, I encourage you to get over your incense allergy and Cross the Tiber. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

World's Expert on CS Lewis and Anglican Priest Jumps the Tiber

From Brandon Vogt's blog we learn that Dr Michael Ward, Anglican priest and CS Lewis expert converted to Catholicism recently. In his interview with Brandon, he gives a concise explanation for why he converted. He discusses how biblical interpretation, sexual ethics, the unity of faith brought about by the papacy, the correct view of Mary, the devotional life of Catholicism( in particular daiily mass), and the Eucharist drew him into the faith over twenty years.

"Michael is a senior research fellow at Blackfriars Hall (University of Oxford) and holds a doctorate in divinity from the University of St. Andrews. He lectures internationally on Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Christian apologetics.
After serving as an Anglican priest for many years, including a chaplaincy to St. Peter's College at Oxford, he converted to Catholicism in 2012."

For the full interview check out Brandon Vogt, father, husband, writer, engineer, blogger and Catholic convert himself.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Black Mass Canceled at Harvard Tonight-Hate Speech is Ok If Only Directed at Catholics

                                             Anglican and Harvard President Drew Faust

I am thankful that the Harvard Extension School's Cultural Studies Club decided to not host the Black Mass on Harvard property and ultimately the event was canceled by the Satan's Temple. I am saddened however, that the president of Harvard, Drew Faust, did not give the order to cancel the event. Free speech was more important to her than tolerance for a religion held by many students, teachers and alumni of Harvard. Though Faust found the hosting of the Black Mass abhorrent, she would not cancel it: "Nevertheless, consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs(the Harvard Extension School)."
      So why is intolerance and hate speech (which is what the Black Mass is) acceptable when only Catholics are offended? A parody and mocking of a reading of the Koran by Harvard's Extension School would have never been allowed and would have sparked violent protest across Boston and the world. But it's ok with University President Faust to let the "abhorrent" show go on to prove her support of "vigorous and open discussion and debate in the pursuit of knowledge." This once again proves Anglican Professor Phillip Jenkin's point that Anti-Catholicism is truly "the last acceptable prejudice in America."
      I just have to wonder if President Faust received phone calls from many Catholic Harvard Alumni who decided to withold their contribution this year, would she still feel as strongly about the importance of upholding "open discussion and debate?"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Song For Mother's Day

I wrote this song about a mother's unconditional love for her disabled son. Wrote it in 1995, recorded it and put it on Scarecrow's Lament CD in 2006 and have never played it live.  Free download,  Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Harvard Hosts Black Mass By Satanists

On May 12th, Harvard University, founded as a university to train pastors, will be hosting a Black Mass.
Does anyone ever wonder why satanists don't have "black" praise and worship sessions or "black" bible studies or "black" fellowship meetings?  The fact that satanists choose to attack and desecrate the Mass makes me think that the devil knows where his real opposition is. If the mass is a powerless empty ritual of a "works-based dead religion", why bother? Or in the words of Catholic writer Flannery O' Connor - "if it's just a symbol, the hell with it " (in response to a Protestant dinner guest's statement about the Eucharist)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Divine Mercy For Healthcare

I am attending a two day conference put on by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate. The topic is Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality. Former Dead Head, drug addict, Catholic convert and now a Marian Priest, Fr. Donald Calloway, gave the first talk of the day . He spoke on how Our Lady can be a model for healthcare workers in terms of showing compassion, tenderness and mercy to our patients. At the foot of the Cross, scripture tells us "she stood," not cowering, but sharing in the suffering of her son.  True compassion entymologically means suffering with our patients, entering into their suffering in some way, instead of referring to them as "the gallbladder in Room 204."
   I look forward to learning more about how to show more compassion, tenderness and mercy. In our current state of affairs, it truly takes supernatural grace to provide compassionate care. Thank God for the Marian Fathers to provide a conference for health care workers to better understand how to incorporate Divine Mercy in our vocation.

               Father Calloway and Marie Romagnano

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Swedish Mega-Church Pastor Ulf Eckman, Swims the Tiber


 Ulf Eckman, founder of one of Sweden's largest non-denominational charismatic churches came into full union with the Catholic Church this March 2014. His theology was influenced heavily by the "Word/faith prosperity" movement. At different points in his career he was outwardly anti-Catholic making negative statements against the faith.  Why did he convert?

"We have seen a great love for Jesus and a sound theology, founded on the Bible and classic dogma. We have experienced the richness of sacramental life. We have seen the logic in having a solid structure for priesthood that keeps the faith of the church and passes it on from one generation to the next. We have met an ethical and moral strength and consistency that dare to face up to the general opinion, and a kindness towards the poor and the weak. And, last but not least, we have come in contact with representatives for millions of charismatic Catholics and we have seen their living faith."

"I discovered how little I really knew about [Catholics], their spirituality and their beliefs. Unconsciously I carried many prejudices and bad attitudes and have been quick to judge them without really knowing what they actually believed. It has been good to discover and to repent from nonchalant and shallow opinions, based not on their own sources but on their opponents, and to discover a very rich heritage, a strong theological foundation and a deep love for Jesus Christ among them."

As I have said multiple times on this blog, most of us carried severe prejudices against Catholicism without ever truly knowing what the Church taught. Here, a pastor of a very large Protestant church admits that he did that very thing. May God bless Ulf Eckman and bless his family for the willingness to follow Truth wherever it leads, even at the cost of a career.